Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday May 10, 2019
Trudeau says Norman case unfolded ‘completely independent’ of government
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the proceedings in Vice-Admiral Mark Norman’s breach-of-trust case unfolded independent of government, despite criticism from the senior naval officer’s defence team.
Mr. Trudeau avoided questions from reporters on Friday about whether he will call an inquiry into Vice-Adm. Norman’s case and why his government withheld documents the defence had requested.
“Canadians understand that judicial processes, police investigations and court proceedings are all entirely independent of the government of the day, certainly of the Prime Minister’s Office. That is the way it should be,” Mr. Trudeau said in Edmonton.
“The processes in this case have unfolded in a proper manner, completely independent of government, as they should have.”
Crown prosecutor Barbara Mercier stayed the charge against Vice-Adm. Norman on Wednesday. She said new documents the prosecution had received from the defence revealed his actions in relation to a shipbuilding contract were “inappropriate,” but that does not mean they were criminal.
Vice-Adm. Norman was suspended as the military’s second-in-command on Jan. 16, 2017, and charged with breach of trust last year for allegedly leaking government secrets in an attempt to influence cabinet’s decision in a review of a $668-million contract with Quebec’s Davie shipyard for a supply vessel. He denied any wrongdoing.
Lawyer Marie Henein said the government prevented her team from accessing thousands of government documents she needed to defend her client, including communications by e-mail and text message between senior staff in Mr. Trudeau’s government.
“There are times you agree with what happens in a court, there are times you don’t and that’s fine. But what you don’t do is you don’t put your finger and try to weigh in on the scales of justice, that is not what should be happening,” Ms. Henein said at a news conference earlier this week.
The RCMP defended their handling of the case in a statement on Friday, saying: “Throughout the course of this criminal investigation, investigators from the RCMP National Division Sensitive and International Investigations section have conducted a thorough, independent and highly professional investigation.” (Globe & Mail)